Ticket Scalping is a Secondary Market Activity

Noting Wednesday’s Dominion Post cover story on the ballooning black market in RWC tickets, I recalled a Business Roundtable submission we made on the Major Events Management Bill in 2008. We said

  • No case is made that the common law is inefficient or problematic in respect of scalping.
  • Ticket scalping is a secondary market activity. It provides a valuable social function like other secondary markets in that tickets can end up in the hands of those who value them most highly.
  • It also caters for the needs of those who cannot spare the time to queue, those who do not know whether they will be too busy to attend an event until close to the time at which it is being held, those who change their minds after an event is sold out, and those who find they cannot make use of their tickets and can offer them for resale.
  • There are many ways that promoters can limit scalping activity if they wish to do so, such as making tickets non-transferable, limiting the numbers that any one individual may buy, or auctioning a block of tickets themselves.
  • Such a law would be difficult and costly to enforce, given selling mechanisms such as the internet and the black market.
  • There seems no logic in applying such laws solely to ‘major events’. If they were justified they should apply generally.

Business New Zealand made a similar statement at the time. This was an MED initiative that continued its fine tradition of mindless intervention.  It was hard at the time to see a case for the government to intervene between willing sellers and willing buyers, or that it would have been effective had it chosen to do so. The same arguments appear to hold true today.

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One thought on “Ticket Scalping is a Secondary Market Activity

  1. All that the scalper is doing is underwriting the event. Happens all the time in the finance, tourism and entertainment businesses. What’s wrong with shifting the risk from the event holder to the scalper/underwriter who might or might not make a profit. You can bet that if the scalper gets sweating tickets will be discounted and the stands will still be full. Good check on pricing by the event holder too.

    Cheers

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